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The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

May 4, 2010

Exciting news, wolf fans. One of our trainers, Liz, just had her first free-contact introduction to a wolf. Free-contact means going into the habitat with the animal, which is something every trainer has to work toward and earn.

Liz worked very hard to develop a solid, trusting relationship with Tala in protected-contact first (with a fence between them). This allowed her to build up a history with Tala, so she already understood that Liz was a fun person to be around.

Liz has been working with us for two years, but only recently did she begin training for free-contact with the wolves. It’s normally a 3-4 month process for new trainers, but it took Liz a few weeks.

It was quite a rewarding experience for both wolf and trainer. In fact, Tala was so excited to see Liz on stage with her, that she ran over to Liz and flopped over, belly up. Tala loves belly rubs. This is a testament to how great a bond can be built using positive reinforcement.

Liz and Tala at a training session during non-operating park hours.

Liz and Tala at a training session during non-operating park hours.

Next time you see Liz, be sure to congratulate her.

Megan
Wolf Trainer at Busch Gardens

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jillian R permalink
    May 4, 2010 9:05 am

    Hey Busch Gardens! What kind of qualifications do you look for in your trainers before hiring?

  2. Teresa permalink
    May 4, 2010 9:07 am

    Earning the trust of an animal is one of the greatest joys in life…a true blessing!!

    Congratulations, Liz!!

  3. Rod Lackey permalink
    May 5, 2010 7:00 am

    Well done Liz & Tala!!

  4. Marcus permalink
    May 5, 2010 11:43 am

    Yay Tala and Liz!

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